…Adopt Measures to checkmate criminal operations
(By Udeme Clement):
Stakeholders in the Maritime Industry have expressed concerns over increase in criminal activities going on at Lagos seaport.
Also, freight forwarders said that they have lost a lot of cargoes in the process of examining their containers at the examination Bay.
The National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, made this known, While briefing reporters, on the out come of Security meeting, held at the Customs Area Controller’s office in Apapa, Lagos.
He lamented that freight agents have lost many items in the name of sampling.
His words: “We are losing a lot of money as a result of sampling. Almost all the agencies, Customs, NDLEA, DSS, Labour take samples when it is the duty of NAFDAC and SON that officially have the right to take sample items, after which such items are to be returned to their owners; and there are procedures for sampling.This is what we are suffering here”.
Alhaji Tanko disclosed; “A number of times, containers seized by Customs and kept at designated area were broken by these wharf rats and the cargo carted away, especially Tramadol.”
Alhaji Tanko, who convened the meeting, described the nefarious activities as organised crime, calling for drastic steps to be taken, in order to remove miscreants from the ports.
He emphasised :
“There is urgent need to reduce crowd at the Examination Bay.
We observed that about 50 – 60 people sleep on APMT platform. One day, a freight forwarder was traced from the platform to his house. In the process, Police investigations showed that the suspect was one of those sleeping on that platform. The APM Terminal is not a sleeping place nor a football field. Those doing that should stop.
“Everybody has a role to play. Police, Customs, NPA, DSS and other security agencies should ensure appropriate security at the port. APM Terminal is not the owner of the port, but partners. Since the platform housing Customs offices now belong to Customs, as I am made to understand, Customs should take charge”.
In his remarks, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), of Apapa, which is the Premier port, Comptroller Yusuf Mallanta, commended Alhaji Tanko for his concerns and initiative.
Comptroller Mallanta stated that his Command had already taken steps to reduce the crowd by introducing Customs permit Tag for examination officers.
He added; “Customs officers who are to conduct examination of containers cannot access the bay without the Tag, which will have the officers’ pictures and names. We also created Tags for clearing agents, as well as enforcement officers to secure the platform.”
The Chief Security Officer (CSO),Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who represented the Agency, emphasised the need for proper issuance of the permit, even as he called for setting up of Joint Security Night Patrol, which will involve Customs, Police and Compliance Team to fishout the criminals.
In the same vein, representative of the President, Maritime Workers Union, Prince Adewale Adeyanju,
blamed security agents for security lapses at the port.
The Port Police boss on his part denied any knowledge of the incident, since no report was formerly brought to his knowledge.
He however commended Tanko for the laudable initiative. He assured stakeholders of his readiness to curb criminals activities at the port.
Stakeholders, who attended the meeting include Comptroller Mallanta, The Port Police Commissioner,
NPA- represented by Chief Security officer, The DSS, Mekura, the Contractor of Labour, President Of Maritime Labour, APMT, NAGAFF and AREFFN, among others.